Drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. will pay the State of Connecticut $25.1 million to settle that state’s Zyprexa lawsuit. The company marketed the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses and hid the drug’s side effects for more than ten years. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sued the company last year, alleging that Lilly’s efforts to promote the drug harmed consumers. Zyprexa has been linked to diabetes and significant weight gain. It cost state medical assistance programs more than $190 million to buy the drug and millions more to treat the injuries it caused.
This settlement, similar to recent agreements we have reported on relating to settlements with two other states, requires the company to meet stricter standards for marketing in the future. Attorney General Blumenthal had this to say about the settlement:
This illicit multibillion-dollar drug marketing scheme corrupted health care at the expense of taxpayers, senior citizens, children and others who suffered serious side effects from Zyprexa. Eli Lilly was aided and abetted by so-called independent physicians paid handsomely to promote Zyprexa for unapproved off-label uses — ghostwriting articles, downplaying dangers and pitching the product.
As reported, Lilly also has settled Zyprexa-related lawsuits with Alaska and West Virginia. Ten other states still have lawsuits pending. As reported, in a January settlement with the federal government, Lilly agreed to pay $1.4 billion in fines for promoting Zyprexa for unapproved uses. The company also agreed to plead guilty to a criminal charge.
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